How Much Does the AC Affect Fuel Mileage

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Your car’s air conditioner is an important accessory – it helps keep you and your passengers comfortable and safe during hot weather. However, it’s operated by your engine and places an additional load on your engine when it’s running. That means it increases your fuel expenditure (decreases your fuel economy). How much does it affect your fuel mileage? The answer is: a lot.

How much will my fuel mileage be affected?

Note that there is no single answer to this question, as there are a number of different factors in play. The actual temperature outside will have an effect, as will the size of your engine, the make and model of your car, the condition of your air conditioning system and many others. However, the US EPA notes that running the air conditioner in very hot weather can increase your fuel consumption by up to 25%, and that the effect of using the AC in a hybrid or electric vehicle can be even greater.

The best defense against decreasing fuel economy is actually pretty simple – use your windows at lower speeds, and turn on the air when you hit the highway. Of course, open windows increase drag, which also reduces fuel economy, but the impact isn’t as great as running the AC at lower speeds.

Ensuring that your air conditioning system and engine are properly maintained will also help improve your fuel economy. Regular oil changes and clean air filters can do a great deal to improve your fuel mileage. Ensuring that your AC system has the right level of refrigerant is also an important consideration here.


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Recent Car surges when air conditioning is on Inspection reviews

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YourMechanic Car surges when air conditioning is on Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

11

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Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Hyundai Entourage - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Chicago, Illinois
Very helpful and efficient!
Mercedes-Benz C230 - Oil Change - Bloomingdale, Illinois
Rigo is hands down the most knowledgeable mechanic in the area... Extremely competent and he always arrives on time. Highly recommend

Jose

15 years of experience
433 reviews
Jose
15 years of experience
Toyota Yaris - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Portland, Oregon
Jose is always so lovely to work with. He diagnosed our issue quickly and managed to figure out what was necessary to get our old car up and running again.

Emmette

34 years of experience
282 reviews
Emmette
34 years of experience
Honda Accord - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Woodbridge, Virginia
Emmette came out and did an inspection on my car. (The only reason I am not giving five stars is due to the fact that no actual repairs were made on my vehicle) He seemed very personable and professional. We actually talked about different things, and he seemed responsive to my questions. Additionally, he made a recommendation or two about the maintenance of my vehicle. He took it upon himself to even ride around in my car with me while I pointed out different concerns. I have already recommended him, and I look forward to actually seeing him in action in the future. I will be utilizing the services of "Your Mechanic" again.

Casime

10 years of experience
51 reviews
Casime
10 years of experience
Honda Accord - Car surges when air conditioning is on Inspection - Willingboro, New Jersey
Excellent customer service and is very knowledgeable. I recommend his services to everyone.

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